Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Encouraging Risk and Achievement

British schools are mollycoddling students to the detriment of Britain's economic future, says Sir Digby Jones, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry.

"Unless you educate children about risk, get them to understand it, get them to embrace it, then we will fail as a nation and fall behind our economic rivals," he said. "China will have our lunch and India will have our dinner."

Sir Digby told head teachers meeting in Telford, Shropshire, that he was alarmed some schools did not hold sports days or, when they did, made sure there were no winners or losers.

"I want sports days," he added. "I want medals for first, second and third, not for everyone who takes part. I want exams that you can fail. But we must reach down to those who do not come first, second or third and give them the confidence to find out what they are good at."

He told the National Association of Head Teachers that business had the most important stake in schools because the economy needed skilled people.

The elimination of sports days in the UK mirrors the discouragement of competitive sports in US schools, where the Cult of Self-Esteem vies with multiculturalism as the leading educational theory favored by "education theorists" (read: the people who transformed US public schools into intellectual sewers). The result has been that American schoolchildren perform terribly on virtually every academic standard, but feel very good about themselves for failing.

Sir Digby voiced the growing worry among UK industry leaders that the mind-rot being promoted in UK schools will cripple Britain's future.

Business leaders were concerned about the number of 16-year-olds with poor reading and writing skills. "We are all taking part in something of a deceit because we are teaching the next generation that risk doesn't exist," he said.

"We are saying to them you can have rights until they are coming out of your pores. But responsibilities, taking charge of your own actions?

"We don't seem to have got it. We are trying to create a nation of victims."

Sir Digby's warning is well taken it Britain, but even better applied in the US.


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